Divorce by Text? Not in Colorado

Portrait of a shocked young girl looking at mobile phone screen.

Saudi Arabia Allows Divorce by Text

While we in the U.S. debate whether it’s appropriate to break up with someone by text, consider what happened recently overseas. Saudi Arabia made headlines with a new law providing that when a husband divorces a wife, the court will notify the woman by text with a case number and and name of court for her to pick up the “decree.”

Hold your outrage – this is actually an improvement over the prior law! That’s right – in a system notorious for denying even the most basic human rights to women, preventing husbands from divorcing their wives in secret is a significant reform, up there with the right to drive.

Per The Guardian, “‘Women… will be notified of any changes to their marital status via text message,’ the justice ministry said in a statement carried by the state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel and other local media.”

Before this reform, men were able to divorce their wives without even telling them, sometimes continuing to live in the same house as each other completely unaware of the divorce.

Is an After-the-Divorce Text Fair?

In a word, no – it’s not even close to our standards of fairness in Colorado, from start to finish. Let’s explain the ways:

Notice of Proceeding

Colorado requires that the summons for dissolution of marriage be personally served on the respondent. C.R.C.P. Rule 4. Although service by publication is permitted when a respondent cannot be located (Rule 4(g)), this severely limits the power of the court, which can grant a divorce and enter parenting orders, but not divide property or order the respondent spouse to pay support to the petitioner.

Personal Jurisdiction

Even with notice, a Colorado court cannot enter financial orders over the other spouse without personal jurisdiction over the person.

Discovery

To prevent trial by ambush, Colo. R. Civ. P. 16.2 provides for mandatory financial disclosures, the exchange of witness lists and exhibits. Other rules set forth the ability to dig deeper with discovery requests.

In short, our system levels the playing field by providing each spouse with the ability to obtain information and documents relevant to the proceedings.

Opportunity to Participate

This one is pretty important – all the notice in the world is pointless if a spouse does not have the right to participate in the proceedings. Notice that in Saudi Arabia, women are told of the divorce after-the-fact.

So what happens in the Saudi equivalent of divorce court? The husband goes in, states his case, and the court issues an order without ever hearing what the wife had to day. The only time that happens in Colorado is when a spouse is personally served, but then defaults by not showing up to the hearing.

And our courts are gender-neutral. Women do not automatically “win” custody battles or receive alimony. Men do not end up with the lion’s share of the property because they “earned” it. Marital property is divided equitably, and parenting orders are entered based upon the best interests of the children.

Military Service Prevents Participation

A federal law known as the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protects our men and women in uniform from default judgments against them if their military status materially affected the ability to appear.

Post-Trial Rights

Due process does not end with the dissolution hearing. Afterwards, the spouses may request reconsideration from the judge, appeal the outcome, or request modification if circumstances change.

Say “I Divorce You” Three Times?

One of the classical Islamic ways to end a marriage is called the talaq, which literally means “repudiation.” Under this tradition, a husband can divorce his wife simply by “repudiating” her  No court approval required, just a waiting period, and the potential for some minimal support to the wife.

In dire cases, the “triple talaq” was used, wherein the talaq is repeated three times and the divorce is effective then, without a waiting period. The practice was condemned by Muhammad centuries ago, and contrary to myth, is not a common way of dissolving a marriage in the Muslim world. In fact, starting with Egypt in 1929, to date 19 Muslim nations have banned the practice.

But that does not mean the practice has been eradicated. It is prevalent enough among the Muslim community in India, for example, that the country’s Supreme Court just declared the triple talaq unconstitutional in 2017. That apparently was not sufficient to stop the practice – just last month India’s parliament caused protests among some Muslims by criminalizing “instant divorces”, at least if the wife’s family filed a protest.

It’s good to live in America. People complain about lawyers, but a fair legal system is indispensable in a free society, even in domestic relations.

Award-Winning Family Law Attorney In Colorado Springs

U.S. News & World Report calls Graham.Law one of the Best Law Firms in America, and our managing partner is a Colorado Super Lawyer. Our family law attorneys have years of experience helping clients navigate the Colorado legal system. We know Colorado divorce & family law inside and out, from complex multi-million dollar property or child custody cases to basic child support modifications.

For more information about our top-rated El Paso County family law firm, contact us by filling out the form on the right or calling us at (719) 630-1123 to set up a free consult, or click on:

Colorado Family Law. Period.

Testimonials

  • Excellent discussion; fully answered all my questions with examples I could clearly understand

    Jane Rohr Avatar
    Jane Rohr
    3/26/2020
  • Carl Graham is by far the best divorce attorney I have used and would highly recommend him to anyone who is looking for an ethical, knowledgable, fair attorney. My case was not your normal circumstanc... read more

    Gary Oldguy Avatar
    Gary Oldguy
    3/17/2020
  • As a former military spouse trying to collect my share of my ex's military retirement from California when the divorce decree and all the supporting documents were filed in Colorado i was apprehensive... read more

    Janine Pandher Avatar
    Janine Pandher
    3/01/2020
  • Where do I begin? Well AFTER have a consultation with another attorney ( who made me feel as though i was undeserving of his expertise) I was extremely apprehensive when coming to Graham Law. This was... read more

    Chris Whitfield Avatar
    Chris Whitfield
    2/07/2020
  • Mr. Carl Graham, Cindi (his paralegal), and the rest of his office staff helped us with a military divorce. Mr. Graham is very knowledgeable about military ways and processes. I appreciated the fact... read more

    Shelle Dier Avatar
    Shelle Dier
    1/08/2020
  • If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, first I would like to say I’m sorry you are going through this. It isn’t and easy road. I know sometimes things just don’t work out to save your marriage. Ho... read more

    Trevor Lisby Avatar
    Trevor Lisby
    11/26/2019
  • If you are searching for a divorce lawyer, first I would like to say I’m sorry you are going through this. It isn’t and easy road. I know sometimes things just don’t work out to save your marriage. Ho... read more

    Trevor Lisby Avatar
    Trevor Lisby
    10/30/2019
  • I called Graham law firm to schedule a consultation and spoke with Corinna. When beginning your search for information with any family matters there are many questions and a sense of anxiety of the u... read more

    Kathlena Williams Avatar
    Kathlena Williams
    8/26/2019
  • I was divorced in CO but moved to TX & had issues with my divorce decree from a previous attorney- after referrals from several other firms in CO regarding the best military law firm I went with Graha... read more

    Sarah DeLorean Avatar
    Sarah DeLorean
    8/26/2019
  • Very helpful initial meeting.

    Steven Babbitt Avatar
    Steven Babbitt
    6/26/2019
  • Carl and his team are awesome and super easy to work with. His knowledge is tremendous and he quickly handled my case despite me being across the country. I would do business with his team again and... read more

    Michael Brooks Avatar
    Michael Brooks
    5/26/2019
  • I was impressed by Graham Law in general but most impressed with Brian Boney. Brian is an excellent family law attorney. Attentive, detail-oriented, and hard-working, Brian surpassed my expectations f... read more

    Robert Weeks Avatar
    Robert Weeks
    5/26/2019
  • Mr. Grahm was professional, knowledgable and very prepared. He was also kind and understanding. He knew his military in's and outs. Because of this is got exactly what I was asking for... a swift a... read more

    MAMCO STAFF Avatar
    MAMCO STAFF
    4/26/2019
  • I had the unpleasant task of taking my ex back to court. Carl was the person for the job. His attention to detail and professionalism got me the result I needed. Sincere thanks to Carl and his great s... read more

    Lisa Bruinsma Avatar
    Lisa Bruinsma
    4/26/2019
  • This firm is quite wonderful....very family and military oriented. Compassionate and patient, very understanding and will go to bat for you!!!!! Give them a call!!!!!

    Teresa Wilkie Avatar
    Teresa Wilkie
    4/26/2019
  • Brian did an amazing job helping me with a personal matter! Its not the first time I ask Brian for help, and every time he exceeds my expectations! Thank you for your kindness, understanding and suppo... read more

    Iryna Volynets Avatar
    Iryna Volynets
    4/26/2019
  • Divorce is never easy, but Carl and his warm team helped me navigate this very difficult time. This was a military divorce, so Carl's expertise helped me understand exactly what my options were as a f... read more

    Kara Longmire Avatar
    Kara Longmire
    4/26/2019
  • I have had two occasions that I have needed Carl Graham's assistance with child support issues and both times Mr. Graham and his team were amazing. Mr. Graham is straight forward and honest. I highly ... read more

    Jason Ragland Avatar
    Jason Ragland
    4/26/2019
  • Can't thank the team enough.

    Kevin Czarnecki Avatar
    Kevin Czarnecki
    4/26/2019
  • Very professional and extremely supportive throughout my needs.

    Doyle McNeil Avatar
    Doyle McNeil
    4/26/2019

Contact